/ Motoring, Technology

Built-in sat nav updates: destination expensive

A single map update for a sat nav that’s built into a car can cost nine times as much as an update for a portable sat nav, our latest investigation has found. So is everyone better off buying off-the-shelf sat navs?

The crux of our research implies they are.

Not only were we quoted extremely high prices for single map updates from dealers, we were also given conflicting information about what the updates included and how you perform the update itself.

Wild variation in update prices

One BMW dealer, for example, quoted us £175 for an update to a BMW 5 Series satellite navigation system, telling us we could perform the update ourselves using a special code.

However, for exactly the same car, a different UK dealership quoted us £375, claiming the software update had to be carried out at the garage by a technician, which was included in the overall cost.

One Nissan dealer initially told us a sat nav update for a Note MPV would cost £8, only to inform us it would actually be £156 when we phoned back to double check the price.

And one Volkswagen dealer quoted us £220 for a one-off update to a Golf sat nav, and then advised we’d be better off upgrading to a new Kenwood system, at the price of £998!

Are built-in sat navs really worth it?

With portable sat nav manufacturers like Tom Tom, Garmin, Navigon and Mio offering navigation updates for anything between £40 and £80, it makes me question if it’s really worth the additional cost of having a built-in sat nav and keeping it up to date.

However, there are good examples from our findings. And these come from the most modern of systems we inquired about. Like the 2011 Toyota Yaris, which most dealers informed us could be updated at no additional cost.

And with portable sat nav manufacturers now joining up with carmakers to offer their systems as built-in options, like the Fiat 500’s TomTom navigation, you shouldn’t have to pay any more than you would to update one of their portable offerings.

There are some benefits to having a sat nav that’s built into your car as well. They’re much more secure and difficult to steal, offer better sound quality through the car speakers, and can make some high-end cars easier to sell on later.

But is this enough to warrant the high price of having them in the first place, and the cost and hassle of keeping them up to date, when portable versions are much more cost effective?

Robin of Loxley says:
28 February 2014

I took delivery of a Hyundai I40 as A company car in December 2013, after,waiting 6 months for delivery from South Korea as it “was being built” Imagine my surprise to find my brand new vehicle’s Satnav was TWO YEARS other of date, and the dealership wanted to charge me £150to update.Phoned Hyundai UK got..it done for free after kicking off, but should never have got that far. Dealerships see this as a cash cow

James says:
22 April 2015

I bought a VW Tiguan in 2014 with built in sat nav i,the screen is average size,but it has every thing on it,was used for the first time recently,it took me straight to my destination ,fifty miles away,with voice guidance,without any hitch,I was very impressed.it works with an address,or postcode. James

Tony foote says:
7 September 2014

In 2013 I bought a second hand volkswagen golf (first reg in 2012) from a main dealer the car is fine apart from “The Navigation System” clearly was “Out of Date ” when the car was first sold. How I know is when I go through the Hindhead Tunnel (opened 2011) A YEAR BEFOE THE CAR WAS FIRST SOLD and started several years earlier it is on the A3 which was a major engineering exercise costing several hundreds of millions the sat nav tells me I’m “Off Road”. During a it’s annual service I asked to update for the sat nav no problem £170 plus vat for a one off disc to update the system that was out of date when it was first sold. What a rip-off. When I complained ” I understand but that’s the way it is “.

Tony Foote

spencer says:
8 October 2014

Lexus 250 GS Sport 2013

Inbuilt sat nav 2 years old when car purchased. Told updates free but then told by main dealer £480 each time you update. As salesman had said free they will update once free of charge. Would never buy a car again with built in sat nav.

Paul Gillett says:
21 April 2015

Not so long ago, manufacturers insisted in their warranties that servicing be carried out by franchised dealerships. This also increased sales of “own brand” oil, filters, screenwash and the like at inflated prices despite the fact that such items were sourced from third-party suppliers whose identical products could be purchased at a fraction of the cost in garages, car-spares outlets and supermarkets. It took legislation to stop the manufacturers’ “lock-in” servicing stranglehold.

It appears that car manufacturers are now using Satnavs as an alternative source of unjustified income for their dealers. This wouldn’t be so bad if the maps were recent updates, but some manufacturers still offer map updates that are years out of date at inflated prices.

Perhaps a super-complaint is called for!

Toyota Avensis Spirit D-4D Estate. 59 Plate. How much to update this sat nav.

mike says:
25 June 2015

My Mercedes ML3OO W164 sat nav is totally useless at enormous expense to update.
I use an ipad mini with the tom tom western Europe software from the app store and hold it in place with a magnetic spider type vent holder charging it from the cigarette socket.
Cost of vent holder from Halfords is £34.00 and it has never fallen off in landscape or portrait mode

Maria Parnell says:
15 July 2015

I am looking for a good sav nav for my job i diver to 6 different adress and want to put all address in at once and it sode it out which 1 frist been told garmin 2599

satnavdiscsale com
1st disc didn’t work, replacement disc didn’t work. Satnav message comes up and says no disc installed or unable to read disc .Genuine navteq disc that came with the car still works perfectly. Asked for a refund but never received reply. DO NOT BUY!

Paul Tong says:
5 January 2016

satnavdiscsale.com received a faulty disc and I never get an answer from these people. Also they will never give you your money back. Avoid!

Just bought a mazda 3 sport – 2011 from main dealer – comes with built in sat nav the sales guy said. Just found out the map is 5 years out of date. Rang them and they want £210 for a new sd card with 2015 maps. Thought they would have updated the maps for the price paid fof the car. 1st of all I got told it was tomtom maps and can update myself. Then another dealer said it was Navteq. After a bit of research found out it may be Denso/Navteq and maps can’t be upgraded. So phoned mazda back, that’s when they quoted me £210 for a sd card. Told them In had just bought the car and they said well that’s the price. Total rip off. Won’t be going back to mazda and buying another car.

Mike Coates says:
10 June 2016

Why does it now cost so much more for a built in sat nav update, than a non built in one

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Stephen says:
13 October 2016

I’ve seen this discussion, I’ve been using sat nav systems for such a very long time. You got to understand that the in built sat navs are far more out off date than most people think. TomTom uses data thats about a year old. in built systems buys there data from up to 2 years. I find it funny I have a nissan note and I had a discussion with a chat on nissan and found that they bought Q3/2015 map data, its October 2016 by their website that map data is already out off date, I questioned why so high the cost and I got production cost which is another rubbish excuse . Nissan Note map update £149 for an old out off date map, by there own website they are false advertising a product that is out of date before you even buy it.

I have for a while used Waza on my phone for sat navs, its like a social network on the road, traffic updates beat all other sat navs hands down. cost Free.

Come on Nissan Beat that

Junctions sometimes change and the occasional new section of highway is built but the road system is probably 99% static nowadays. How necessary is it for the mapping to be updated frequently? The main navigational difficulties seem to be in urban areas with new road closures, ‘no-entry’, and banned turns, but the closer one is to the final destination the more necessary it is to read the road signs as these changes can occur overnight.

Is it possible somehow link my much superior mobile phone sat nav into my conveniently laid out.

. but out of date and generally poor built in sat nav via bluetooth. (Ford Focus 2015)

Hope you work that out. Just been told it will cost about £200 to update maps on used Focus I was thinking of buying. Sat Nav is now off the “would be nice to have” list.

I am about to take delivery of a Fiesta with factory fitted sat nav. If the updates cost much I shall continue to use my Garmin Nuvi (Large Screen) which has free lifetime map and traffic updates. Plus, those updates come Free through my home wi-fi.

I agree that they are, and have purchased another satnav and will not buy a car that has built in again